7 Best Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Running Shoes in 2023
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Are you looking for a comfortable all-arounder? A supportive shoe for overpronation? Or a speedy racer for a new personal best? There is no ONE best shoe for everybody.

We have tested over 100 running shoes and put them through our lab to help you find the best pair. See our highly recommended models in several categories below.

And if you want to learn more about choosing the right running shoe, look through our 7-step guide.

Best running shoes overall

ASICS Novablast 3
91
Superb!

What makes it the best?

The third iteration of the Novablast marks a revolution in the all-rounder game. This lightweight marvel ticks all boxes with unmatched grace and boundless energy, rightfully claiming its throne as the ultimate running shoe.

Indulging in the Novablast 3 was an absolute thrill. It felt superbly balanced regarding stiffness, ensuring a remarkably bouncy and vibrant ride, capable of handling even the most intense tempo workouts. How natural and weightless it feels on foot is nothing short of mindblowing! Based on the measurements from our lab, it sits at a feathery 228 grams (8.0 oz) while the average running shoe weighs 271 grams (9.6 oz).

The underfoot foam became our dream’s fuel, oozing divine levels of comfort for double-digit miles. Pushing our durometer against this silky colorful midsole confirmed our sensations, as it emerged as 52% softer than average. It’s a long-lasting nectar whose wonderful flavor remained the same even after 150 miles of hitting the road, setting new standards for what a versatile trainer should be. On top of this, it is very stable (finally). The platform of Novablast 3 is wider than the average, at the forefoot that difference is 4.2 mm and at the heel it is 5.3 mm wider.

However, while the Novablast 3 can easily handle quick paces, we felt it lacked the explosive power required for this era of racing shoes. For those seeking a PB obliterator, exploring other options might be the way to go.

Pros

  • Super bouncy
  • Cushy feel for miles
  • Breathable
  • Light AF
  • Ready for cornering
  • Locks you in
  • Tongue stays in place
  • Grippy outsole
  • Mad durable
  • Sets the bar for a do-it-all shoe

Cons

  • For narrow-to-medium feet only
  • Stack heights higher than advertised
Full review of ASICS Novablast 3

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Men
Women
Any color
Black/Island Blue (1011B458004)
Sheet Rock/Black (1011B458021)
Ocean Haze/Black (1011B458404)
Black/Dried Leaf Green (1011B458005)
Cream/Fawn (1012B288101)
White/Deep Ocean (1011B458100)
White Pure Silver (1011B461100)
Electric Red/Midnight (1011B458600)
More colors

Best daily training running shoes

Nike Pegasus 40
87
Great!

What makes it the best?

The 40th birthday of the Pegasus series dropped the ultimate daily trainer. With the reliability of a Toyota, it balances fresh cushioning and tireless responsiveness, all while remaining unfazed by the mileage.

As polyvalent as it gets, one of the highlights of the Pegasus 40 lies in the midsole design. Boasting two Air Zoom units nestled within the React foam at the forefoot, it stormed our toe-offs with ease while ensuring a fair amount of energy return. Also, this shoe is crazily bendable in all directions, feeling awesomely natural on foot. In fact, using a force gauge to measure the Pegasus' resistance to our 90º bending test put it among the top 6% of most flexible shoes we ever dissected in our lab.

We threw everything at this Pegasus and it stood tall and untouched. We fixed the shoe to our lab benches and applied a rotary force of 3.2N to its upper at 10k RPM for four intense seconds - the upper is virtually unbreakable! It resisted with unwavering resilience, as the abrasion wasn't enough to break through the upper as happens with most shoes. We also pushed our durometer against the outsole to check its firmness. Harder rubbers last longer, and with a score of 86.0 HC, the Pegasus boast one of the toughest outsoles we have ever tested, delivering exceptional durability.

Did the Pegasus 40 give us that winged horse feel? Not quite. Runners seeking a quick and exhilarating all-rounder to pump the adrenaline levels up might end up utterly disappointed.

Pros

  • Plush and comfortable upper
  • Breathable
  • Secure lockdown
  • Has enough toe-box space
  • Not overly soft or firm underfoot
  • Good energy return
  • Great grip on most surfaces
  • Incredible durability
  • Perfect for everyday miles and LSDs

Cons

  • A generally narrow fit
  • Heavier than the v39
  • Not a very memorable ride
Full review of Nike Pegasus 40

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Men
Women
Any color
White (DV3853101)
Black/Light Crimson/White (DV3853003)
Blue (DV7480401)
Midnight Navy/Black/Racer Blue/Pure Platinum (DV3853400)
Black (DV3853001)
White/Black/Photon Dust/Wolf Grey (DV3853102)
White (DV7480100)
White/Chile Red/Coconut Milk/Black (FJ0686100)
More colors

Best running shoes for speed training

What makes it the best?

Our number one pick for speed training is the PUMA Deviate Nitro 2. This speedster is a specialist in overcoming all sorts of fast workouts, seamlessly combining power and comfort in divine harmony.

There’s no other way around it, the Deviate Nitro 2 exudes pure speed. Its midsole houses a stiff carbon plate that acted as a powerful propeller, constantly urging us to push the boundaries of our pace. In our lab, we locked it by its tip and bent it to 90º: it resisted with an impressive 58.8N, emerging as 42.1% stiffer than the average.

Surprisingly enough, unlike other plated shoes, the ride of this PUMA feels super natural and buttery smooth, taking it easy on the feet. The delightful underfoot foam offers a sweet spring-off without making comfort pay for it. We used our durometer to test the midsole softness and discovered it is indeed 35% softer than the average, enhancing the overall versatility of the shoe across a variety of speed sessions.

However, we were underwhelmed and utterly disappointed with its somewhat bulky feel. Weighing 260 grams (9.2 oz), it falls on the heavier side for a tempo kick (speed running shoes in our database average at 240g).

Pros

  • Great all-rounder
  • Super-smooth and responsive ride
  • Plush cushioning
  • Comfy upper
  • Grippy outsole
  • Above average durability
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • Heavier than other similar shoes
  • Not many colors available
Full review of PUMA Deviate Nitro 2

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Men
Women
Any color
Ultra Blue Fire Orchid Puma Black (37680713)
Speed Green Cool Dark Gray (37680716)
Black (37680711)
Blue (37680709)
Orange (37680714)
Puma White Speed Green Cool Dark Gray (37680715)
Gul (37680703)
Black (37680701)
More colors

Best race running shoes

What makes it the best?

If performance is what you’re after, look no further. As the rawest brother from ASICS racing kicks, the Metaspeed Edge+ furiously ignited our every stride without overlooking the comfort required for longer races. All things considered, no wonder this is our #1 pick for racing days.

This wild beast really came alive out in the streets, brutally unleashing energy like no other. With its 8.1 mm drop and full-length carbon plate working in devilish harmony, each toe-off propelled us forward with unbridled energy. The insane stiffness of plated shoes is where their power lies, and the Edge+ is no different. In our attempt to bend it to 90º, it fought back with a massive 63.0N, showcasing 97.5% more stiffness than the average.

While the Edge+ offers a touch of that classic close-to-the-ground sensation, it’s just about lofty enough to provide a protective ride, topping the average shoe by only 0.6 mm at the heel and 1.0 mm at the forefoot. Our durometer ranked its foam at 23.7% firmer than the average, feeling quite aggressive and ensuring we kept our composure up until the end of our testing sessions.

We do not recommend the Metaspeed Edge+ for those seeking an all-rounder that can also handle daily runs, as it felt like a fish out of water at slower paces.

Pros

  • Speedy all the way!
  • More cushioned for long miles
  • Buttery smooth transitions
  • Protective underfoot
  • Hell of a snappy toe-off
  • Super light
  • Very breathable
  • Nails the race-ready fit
  • Slip-free lockdown
  • More durable than most racers
  • Grips on dirt roads

Cons

  • Scratchy upper
  • Not for short runs
  • Expensive
Full review of ASICS Metaspeed Edge+

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Unisex
Any color
Green (1013A116300)
Island Blue/Orange Pop (1013A116400)
Black/New Leaf (1013A116001)
Diva Pink/White (1013A116700)
Sky/Hazard Green (1013A116401)

Best stability running shoes

What makes it the best?

Let’s be honest, corrective shoes for pronating strides just aren’t that sexy; but the Adrenaline GTS 23 subverts our expectations with a sleek and comfortable designed daily trainer that even neutral runners will be happy to have in their rotation, making it easily our top pickfor best stability running shoe. 

Stability shoes tend to be quite stiff with the aim of correcting a pronating stride by limiting lateral foot movement. The Adrenaline GTS 23 achieves this when it comes to torsional rigidity, earning a 4 out of 5 in our manual test. In terms of longitudinal stiffness, however, the Adrenaline GTS 23 is remarkably flexible; requiring only 17.7N of force to bend the shoe 90-degrees in our test, making it significantly more flexible than the average shoe. This combination gives us a healthy mix between stability and comfort as the shoe is able to easily bend with our foot while also correcting any excessive foot rolling. 

Further contributing to the shoe’s stable ride is its behemoth of a platform. Using our caliper, we measured the Adrenaline GTS 23’s midsole to be 117.3 mm and 96.9 mm wide at the forefoot and heel respectively. This means that we have a much broader than average platform that keeps us feeling sure-footed during landings and toe offs, while also not feeling overly blocky when taking corners. 

With a high heel drop of 12.6 mm, the Adrenaline GTS 23 is a little too steep for forefoot strikers. This drop will feel even more exaggerated considering how thick the shoe’s stack is at the heel, measuring 34.1 mm according to our caliper, versus the shorter than average forefoot stack of only 21.5 mm. This means that forefoot strikers will only benefit from lots of ground-feel but none of the plush cushioning the midsole has to offer.

Pros

  • Excellent stability without being intrusive
  • Ideal for easy miles
  • Specifically designed for heel strikers
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Availability in narrow and wide sizes
  • Capable of handling tempo paces
  • Not expensive at all

Cons

  • The engineered mesh upper lacks durability
  • Lacks cushion for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

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Men
Women
Any color
Black (006)
Peacoat/Orange/Surf the Web (438)
Blue Moroccan Spring Bud (427)
BLACK/BLACK/EBONY (110391020)
Oyster/Ebony/Alloy (065)
Nine Iron/Folkstone/Sulphur (404)
Crystal Grey/Surf the Web/Grey (248)
Oyster/Black/Red Orange (017)
More colors

Running shoes with best plush cushioning

What makes it the best?

Remaining equal to itself, the 25th edition of the Gel Nimbus brought the clouds to our streets, steadily locking our feet in heavenly levels of comfort. This is why we found it the ultimate running shoe when it comes to plush cushioning.

As we marked the ground with each footstep, the Nimbus erased any notion of landing impact from our minds. The midsole melt shaped like our feet, providing a forgiving and refreshing ride that lasted for countless miles. In the lab and at room temperature, we pushed our durometer against this foam to put its softness to the test - it surpassed the average by 28.2%, confirming its gentle soul that our feet came to know so well.

This Nimbus enveloped our feet in a delightful dimension perfectly cushioned from every angle. Its midsole effortlessly fits into the max-cushioned category, boasting a stack height ranging from 38.0 mm at the heel to 30.2 mm at the forefoot. The knit upper felt stretchy and supportive, teaming up with the generously widened platform to ensure a stable and confident ride. Our trusty caliper measured the widest part of the forefoot to be 119.4 mm, an exceptional 6.9 mm wider than average.

The Nimbus 25 got its priorities straight, and performance isn’t one of them. Those looking for a do-it-all trainer to handle faster efforts might want to consider other options.

Pros

  • Beyond comfortable
  • Like running on marshmallows
  • Surprisingly stable
  • Feels light on feet
  • True to size
  • Sustainable materials
  • Looks great as a casual shoe

Cons

  • Not a very responsive ride
  • An oven for the feet
  • Pricey
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 25

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Men
Women
Any color
Black/Lime Zest (1011B547003)
Island Blue/Sun Peach (1011B547400)
Midnight/Electric Red (1011B547401)
Sheet Rock/Indigo Blue (1011B547021)
Beige (1011B769200)
Spice Latte/Black (1011B547600)
WHITE/BLACK (1011B547103)
Black/Pure Silver (1012B356001)
More colors

Best trail running shoes

Hoka Speedgoat 5
89
Great!

What makes it the best?

Venturing into the wild wouldn’t be the same without the Hoka Speedgoat 5. It reliably bites the ground without getting a scratch itself, delivering unwavering performance on the most technical of trails. This is why the Speedgoat 5 is our #1 pick for hitting the trails.

This Hoka trail shoe is an untamed beast that thrives in diverse habitats ranging from icy surfaces to muddy and rooty terrains. We felt the tread pattern of 3.0 mm lugs aggressively grip the ground, keeping our strides secure and confident. No matter the conditions, we couldn’t manage to put a dent in the outsole - our durometer readings confirmed its durable construction, ranking it among the hardest we ever tested with a score of 84.5.

Speed is a key characteristic of this model and it sure didn’t go unnoticed on our runs. Our toe-off movements oozed silky levels of smoothness thanks to the rockered design of the Speedgoat. Add the bouncy and sparky midsole, and this is a shoe to leave the chronometer struggling. Plus, it’s outstandingly dulcet on the legs, with our durometer revealing it to be 60% softer than average. In our lab, we've also put it in the freezer to see how the softness changes with temperature. To our surprise, even after 20mins in the freezer, the shoe did get firmer by 63.6%, but even then, it was 34% softer than most shoes at room temperature.

We do not recommend this shoe for trail enthusiasts with very wide feet, as the upper width at the forefoot is very close to the average (actually, 1.9 mm narrower than the average).

Pros

  • Super grippy
  • Springy ride
  • Stable platform
  • Extra durable
  • High impact protection
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Secure fit
  • Excellent heel hold

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Flared collar is not for everyone (style-wise)
Full review of Hoka Speedgoat 5

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Men
Women
Any color
Deep Lake/Ceramic (DLCR)
Stone Blue/Dark Citron (SBDCT)
Bellwether Blue/Cyclamen (BBCY)
Blue (SBBK)
Fiesta/Radiant Yellow (FRYL)
Thyme/Fiesta (TFST)
Impala/Flame (1123157IFLM)
Outer Space/Bluing (OSBN)
More colors

Comparison of the 7 best running shoes

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Best
CoreScore
Users rating
Experts
Best price
Ranking
Popularity
# of colorways

There is no ONE best running shoe

Feet are unique and even some of the best-rated running shoes might not work for you specifically.

choose-best-running-shoes.jpg

While many would pick the number one best rated running shoe as it must be thee best, note how little difference there is in the overall scores. Our general advice is that as long as you pick running shoes with a CoreScore above 80, you'll get a shoe that is good for most people, given that it's picked for its intended use.

Comfort above anything else

In a study that analyzed 40 years of running injuries, researchers found that comfort plays a significant factor in reducing injuries.

Comfort is made of: 

  • Perfect size. If you’re not sure which size you need, check our ultimate size guide. 
  • Perfect fit. This means your shoe isn’t too tight nor it feels too loose around your heel or forefoot. Additionally, no part of the shoe should give you discomfort - there should be no pinching nor uncomfortably tight areas. 
  • Cushioning. It’s that soft (midsole) foamy layer that makes your feet experience “walking on clouds” feeling. 

Research has shown that comfort might go as far as improving the running economy (source) and decreasing injury risk (study). Runners usually report more comfort with more cushioning. 

Typically, lightweight running shoes offer less cushioning, and we therefore generally don’t recommend beginners to pick running shoes that weigh less than 250 grams. This way, you’ll leave aside two extremes: racing flats and extremely bulky running shoes. More experienced runners can find joy in having a pair of lightweight running shoes for their speed runs.

light-vs-heavy-running-shoe.jpg

a light daily trainer (Saucony Kinvara) vs. a heavy max-cushioned trainer (Adidas Ultraboost)

What is arch support and why it matters 

We have done a meta-analysis of more than 150 studies about arch support, where we interview doctors of physical therapy, podiatric surgeons, coaches, and podiatrists. 

The conclusion is that arch support cannot make a huge difference to injury risk or the performance for runners unless you have a special foot condition, in which case you should seek a specialist. A few rough guidelines: 

neutral-stability-motion-control.jpg

neutral shoe (left) vs. stability shoe (center) vs. motion control shoe (right)

To determine pronation, look at your used footwear - do you wear them evenly? If they’ve been worn more on the outer sides, you’re underpronating. If they’ve been worn more on the inner sides, you’re overpronating. Even wear means neutral pronation.

Arch types and recommended shoes.png

Road or trail? 

This one is simple: If you mostly run on road, tarmac, treadmill, 4x4 road or even major forest trails or the likes, then buy road running shoes.

Only buy trail running shoes if you run on single-trails or off trails. Otherwise, you don’t need them. 

TIP. You should not be afraid to run on roads with your trail running shoes once in a while. However, we recommend that you keep it at a minimum as feet and knees can start to hurt. The bigger the lugs, the sooner your feet will start hurting. Quite often, you’d need to run half a mile to your nearest trails, and that is not a problem.

Here are the key differences between road and trail shoes that you should be aware of:

road-vs-trail-running-shoes.jpg

Outsole: Road shoes have flatter and pavement-ready soles. Trail shoes have lugs (tread patterns), for better traction on uneven terrain.

road-vs-trail-outsole.jpg

Saucony Ride (road shoe) vs. Saucony Peregrine (trail shoe)

Protection: Most trail shoes are equipped with rugged toe bumpers and rock plates to keep the runner’s feet protected from various terrain challenges.

Nike-Pegasus-Trail-3-Toe-Bumper.jpg

Toe bumper on Nike Pegasus Trail

Weight: Because of these features, trail shoes tend to be heavier than road shoes.

nike-pegasus-road-vs-pegasus-trail.jpg

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus (9.2 oz / 261 g) vs. Nike Pegasus Trail (11.3 oz / 320 g)

Upper: Road shoes have lighter, more breathable uppers because road races don’t have any obstacles. Trail shoes are reinforced with various protective elements, including additional layers in high-wear areas, which makes them less breathable.

road-vs-trail-shoe-upper.jpg

Lacing: Trail shoes usually have a lace pocket - to prevent the laces from tangling with debris on the run. 

Focus: For road shoes, it’s SPEED. For trail shoes, it’s PROTECTION. 

Heel to toe drop in running shoes

If you’re new, or if you run less than 10 miles per week, there’s no need to know about heel to toe drop as long as you buy shoes with at least 6mm drop (preferably 8-12mm). 

stack-height-and-heel-to-toe-drop-combinations.jpg

The only exception is if you have a record or severe ankle, knee, hip, ITB, Achilles, or plantar fasciitis injuries. In such cases, seek out a specialist before buying running shoes.

More experienced runners tend to show interest in the heel to toe drop. There are a lot of opinions on the subject. If you want to learn more, check our in-depth scientific guide to heel to toe drop.

Heel drop effects

Low

low-drop.png

High

high-drop.png

The lower the drop, the greater the potential to improve cadence. Foot switch is slower in higher drop shoes.
Lower and zero drop shoes promote midfoot and forefoot strike. A higher drop allows for rearfoot strike because the elevated heel helps with high impacts when the heel hits the ground.
Lower heel drop might help with ITB, (anterior) knee pain, gluteal overuse syndrome. Higher heel drop might help with plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy (stiff Achilles), calf injuries.
Low drop shoes allow for more ankle flexion during landing. The ankle absorbs the impact and works as a spring. These shoes can place greater stress on the foot, ankle, lower leg. High drop has a higher knee flexion moment. This means it has the potential to load hips and knees more, similar to heel strike.
Overstriding rearfoot strike might be prevented with a lower drop. Overstriding forefoot strike might be prevented with a higher drop.

Minimalist, maximalist, strike pattern, technology, waterproofing, etc. 

As a beginner, don’t get confused by these terms. Ignore them.

Trust your feet, not “experts” and top-10 lists

The best thing to do if you’re buying your first pair of running shoes is to go to the running-specialized store. First and foremost: you’ll try them on and see if they are a good fit for your feet. Then, you might even get good advice from a store employee. Heck, they might even scan your feet and let you know precisely what features they have regarding pronation, arch height, etc. 

If you decide to do your research online first, we’ve written a whole chapter on what to pay attention to! It’s not a good idea to trust “experts” and top-10 lists.

How we test running shoes

We believe editors disguised as “experts” cherry-pick popular shoes to earn more

Here’s proof that the top 1% of most popular shoes are 245 times more likely to be picked in top-10 lists, and WHY expert reviews are biased towards popular models that are not always the best shoes.

Unlike most top-10 rankings, we list the best running shoes, NOT the most popular ones.

Here is how we’re different:

  • As an independent shoe testing lab, we purchase all shoes with our own money to stay unbiased.
  • We cut shoes into pieces and measure over 30 different parameters on cushioning, durability, breathability, and more.
  • We run 30-50 miles in each pair. We make sure that we vary our runs from roads to trails before submitting our in-depth review.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.